Susan Perry (’77) says their vacation scrapbooks while growing up had as many images of radio equipment as family members. That happens when your forward-thinking father is an expert in using short wave technology for mass communication and world evangelism.
“Dad was always taking pictures of towers and turntables, scouting out places to share with others who were looking for stations or equipment to purchase,” Susan said. “We got used to it but it probably seemed a bit strange to others.”
The Second Glance essay in the new Summer-Fall 2016 issue of ACU Today, “Short wave radio still makes the Gospel world go round,” is a tribute to Dr. Lowell Perry (’47), his wife, Earline (Davidson ’48), and the legacy they created through World Christian Broadcasting (WCB), which he helped found.
Lowell, a professor of communication at ACU, lost his life in 1977 while searching the Caribbean by plane for a new site for a WCB transmitter tower. Earline carried WCB’s proverbial torch for decades as a board member and de facto cheerleader, until her passing on Feb. 19, 2016.
She so looked forward to seeing WCB’s long-awaited transmitters begin broadcasting from a mountaintop in Madagascar, but fell just weeks short of living long enough to seeing – and hearing – her husband’s dream come true. Susan made the trip to represent her family.
The story connecting the Perrys, WCB, ACU and Madagascar qualifies by most estimations as “a God thing,” as we often call providential occurrences too difficult to explain or believe.
It includes the considerable influence of former Madagascar president Dr. Marc Ravalomanana, a devout Christian who opened the door to WCB in 2003. “Come build your station,” he told WCB leaders, whom he allowed to use government land near Mahajanga. Thirteen years later, WCB signals from there and from a second station in Anchor Point, Alaska, now reach the entire world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Madagascar Presidential Scholars Program allowed 24 top Malagasy students to graduate from ACU in 2008. Earline was named ACU’s Outlive Your Life award recipient in 2014.
Read this issue’s Second Glance here: